Shoulder Fracture

Shoulder fractures can occur in any of the bones that make up the shoulder joint. Read on to learn about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options tailored to each type of shoulder fracture, including the clavicle, proximal humerus, and scapula.

If you would like to learn more about the surgical options for a shoulder fracture, contact Brent J. Morris, MD, in Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. Morris and his dedicated team specialize in orthopedic shoulder care, offering personalized treatment plans to help you regain function and alleviate discomfort. Schedule an appointment today!

Dr. Brent J. Morris, MD, smiling.
Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon located in Lexington, KY

About Fractured Shoulders

A fractured shoulder refers to broken bones that make up the shoulder joint. Fractures can occur in any of the shoulder bones including the scapula (shoulder blade), the clavicle (collar bone), and the proximal humerus (upper arm bone).

Shoulder Fracture Symptoms

The symptoms you might have when you fracture your shoulder will depend on which bone you fracture. General symptoms of a shoulder fracture include the following:

  • Localized shoulder pain
  • Localized swelling and bruising
  • Difficulties moving the shoulder
  • Crepitus, or a grinding sensation with shoulder movement
  • Deformity

Clavicle Fracture Symptoms

Clavicle fractures may display the following symptoms:

  • Swelling and bruising in the middle of the collarbone
  • A bump in the collarbone
  • Your shoulder’s range of motion will be limited

Proximal Humerus Fracture Symptoms

If you break the head of your upper arm bone, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • You will have severe pain
  • Your shoulder will be very swollen
  • Shoulder motion will be very limited
  • The top of the arm will be bruised

Scapular Fracture Symptoms

Symptoms of a scapular fracture include pain, swelling, and bruising around the shoulder blade.

Causes of a Shoulder Fracture

You are more likely to fracture your clavicle or proximal humerus than your scapula. This is because the scapula is well protected by your chest and surrounding muscles.

Clavicle and proximal humerus fractures can be caused by falls, or a direct blow to the area.

Scapula fractures usually only occur in high-energy trauma accidents such as motor vehicle collisions. The chest will often be injured at the same time.

Diagnosing Shoulder Fractures

Fractures can be diagnosed using X-rays of the area along with a physical examination. You may also require other imaging tests if it is suspected that you have any other shoulder injuries.

Treatment for Shoulder Fractures

Not all shoulder fractures need surgery. If the fracture is small and the bones are still in place, they may heal on their own. Treatment for these types of fractures includes rest, immobilization, and medication for swelling and pain.

Shoulder fracture surgery may be required for more complex fractures. Dr. Morris may recommend surgery to stabilize the fracture to make sure that it heals properly. The following outlines some of the treatments available according to the fractured bone:

Clavicle Fractures

Clavicle fractures can usually be treated non-surgically. Surgery becomes necessary if the fracture pierces the skin or if there is significant displacement of the bone. In some cases, surgical intervention for specific clavicle fractures may offer benefits.

Surgical procedures typically entail stabilizing the fracture using plates and screws implanted within the bone. Dr. Morris will be happy to discuss the potential risks and advantages of this procedure with you.

Proximal Humerus Fractures

The majority of proximal humerus fractures can be treated without surgery, especially when the bone fragments are not severely displaced.

When surgery is required, Dr. Morris may recommend fixing the fractured fragments using plates and screws. In some cases, it may be recommended that you have shoulder replacement surgery.

Scapula Fractures

Many scapula fractures can be treated non-surgically. You may only require immobilization with a sling or shoulder immobilizer, along with icing and pain relief medications.

Surgical intervention is rarely necessary when treating scapula fractures. However, it may be necessary if the fracture involves the shoulder joint or if there is an additional severe clavicle fracture at the same time.

Surgical treatment entails realigning the bones and securing the fracture fragments using plates and screws.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Are you looking for an expert shoulder surgeon to treat your shoulder fracture? Don’t wait any longer—schedule your appointment today with Dr. Brent J. Morris, MD, in Lexington, Kentucky. Our team specializes in orthopedic shoulder care and is dedicated to providing personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs. Regain mobility and alleviate discomfort by booking your consultation now!

"Dr. Morris is fantastic. He has a great personality, explains his diagnosis in simple terms, and is an excellent surgeon. Prior to my surgery he prayed with me. I give him a 11 out of 10." - William C.

FAQs About Shoulder Fractures

How can shoulder fractures be avoided?

Preventing a shoulder fracture will depend on your age and activities. Older adults will want to take measures to prevent falls. Those who participate in sports should wear appropriate protection. Some preventative measures may include the following:

  • Take care of your bone health
  • Eliminate trip hazards in the home
  • Wear appropriate footwear
  • Use appropriate safety equipment while playing sports

Shoulder movement is sometimes possible when you fracture your shoulder; however, it can be painful. You will also have a reduction in the range of movement. If you have shoulder pain, then you should not force your shoulder to move.